All posts by Ray Zabielski

The Holiday Season

As we enter the holiday season this year, we are all experiencing the effects of a very challenged economy. The good news we can build on is the knowledge that there is commitment to and a unified effort by all parties to address the challenges in our country and around the world. As we look forward to opportunities to address in 2009, all of us at Charles Rutenberg Realty would like to wish you and your family the best for the holidays.

Marketing Tools That Work

One of the key things we look to do at Charles Rutenberg Realty is to find tools that help our agents do deals. Since it is only through completing transactions that any of us get paid, it is in our best interest that our agents succeed in their real estate business.

One new tool that was just released to our agents is the ability for them to complete property booklets and flyers for their properties. They can create flyers and booklets of up to 10 pages without cost through Details on accessing the system are under the Marketing section of the agent office site. The following is a comment from Emma Pawlik, one of our agents who is very pleased to have this new tool available to her. If you are not an agent with CRR, but would like to consider joining, please give me a call at 630-929-5410.

Ray Zabielski, Managing Broker

Hi Ray,

I hope all is well.
Just wanted to send you a quick note and say THANK YOU!!!!
It’s truly amazing to work for a company who’s broker is continuing to search for new products and makes them available to his agents. You’re really terrific!!!!.

I took advantage of WillowTree to create a booklet for a property I will be listing on Monday and it came out amazing, took just a few minutes to create (and when i ran into a problem i had sent an email and received a phone call as follow up from Susan who was extremely helpful) I had sent the pdf file over to my local singarama for printing and I know my clients will be blown away. What a great service!!!! But again one of many amazing tools our company offers. I hope you will get positive feedback and will keep this service for years to come. Thank you again so much!!!!!

I will be also taking advantage of your other find eproperties how Fabulous are they.
I will be thinking twice about my visualtour monthly subscription of 29.99 when I can get a personal website for each of my listings – how awesome is that.

Well I suppose I could go on and on about this but bottom line is THANKS SO MUCH!!!
For always being on top of the newest and coolest tools and for always being there for us.
I think it’s nice to be reminded that you are TRULY greatly appreciated!!!!!


Are You Making Money?

Wow, what a time we are in right now!

Real estate deals are at a premium and, when they go to closing, sometimes the funds aren’t available from the lender. If you find that you are working harder and making less than you deserve, make sure you are at least paid the proper amount for your efforts.  We believe the agent should receive the commission and the company is paid a fee for providing the structure for the agent to build his or her business around. If you agree, we’d love to have you check us out at

Ray Zabielski, Managing Broker

Bad Times Can Be Good Times

This week we are awaiting news of the $700 Billion take over of potentially bad loans by the US government. This unprecedented action will allow liquidity to come back into the US credit market and credit is mandatory for our economy to function. One of the biggest challenges this week is the uncertainty many have of it’s success. However, if you step outside of your comfort zone, take the position that it will succeed and then move aggressively to position yourself as the go to person when someone begins to again consider an acquisition or sale of their real estate, you will be months ahead of everyone else when the market begins to return to reasonable activity. Now is not the time to sit back and wait to see what happens, it  is the time to position yourself to be the one who makes things happen.

Time to Buy?

I was out this weekend and the discussion came up about when it would be the best time to list a property for sale. Should they list today or wait until the spring of 2009? We came to the conclusion that now is the time to list. The second best marketing period is the fall, September through November. Since we will never know when the buyer for a property will appear it doesn’t make sense to wait until "the Spring". Go to market now. If there is no sale by mid November go ahead and take it off the market and then go back again in March of 2009 with a totally new listing. That way you get the maximum exposure during both seasons and, who knows, you may just find that your buyer is in the market today after all!! 

Short Sales

Yesterday we had an excellent discussion on the short sale process. The discussion was led by attorney Russell Rasche and CRR broker associate Matthew Rasche. One of the most important points emphasized was the fact that short sales take time! While buyers are eager to learn the status of their offer and sellers want to know if they can really sell their property, the lenders need and take a lot of time to review and approve a deal. This time period will most certainly be 4 to 6 weeks or more. So, the next time you find yourself involved in a short sale please know that it will take a long time to complete.

Housing Market Report

The May 2008 Housing Price Forecast prepared by the University of Illinois for the Illinois Association of REALTORS projects prices will start to recover even though sales will be down from last year. On a positive note, our price decline as been less than 10%, unlike other areas of the country. Some key points presented are:

  • For the next three months, the sales forecasts look to be down (compared to the same months, May through July, 2007) between 18 and 27% for the state and 20 to 30% for Chicago.
  • Median prices are expected to recover in the state in May and June but compared to the same months in 2007, the prices will be down around 6%.
  • Compared to many other metropolitan areas, the Chicago region is still experiencing price declines that are below 10% in contrast to other areas such as Las Vegas, where price declines have exceeded 20%.

The entire report is available to Illinois REALTORS from the Illinois Association of REALTORS .

Tips to Stimulate Sales

The following was recently posted by Kate Sax of MORe on steps to take to stimulate your business in the near term. While Realtors always say the best time to buy real estate is today, the current market makes this recommendation more valid now than ever.

Here are Kate’s points:

Surviving and thriving in the real estate market these days means following a whole new set of rules. Here are five imperatives, published in the June 2008 issue of REALTOR® magazine, for those who want to master the home-buying game. Explaining these items to your customers could  help you win friends and sales.

1. Gaming the market doesn’t work. There’s a chance that the home you buy today will be worth less next year. So instead of trying to time the market, drive a hard bargain for a home you really love.

2. Real winners get the lowest mortgage rate. Financing is getting more expensive. Celia Chen of Moody’s predicts rates will hit 7 percent in mid 2009.

3. Jumbos are a big bargain. A new law temporarily allows Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to buy mortgages as big as $729,750, which is keeping the jumbo rates down. The deal disappears at year-end.

4. Good schools count. Neighborhoods with highly rated schools are holding their value better than most, according to a recent study by real estate site

5. Honesty is the best policy. Be upfront about your commission and consider letting the buyer keep any incentives offered by the sellers.

The Housing Crisis Is Over ??

The following opinion piece from the Online Wall Street Journal makes an excellent case that we are set to see a recovery in the housing market. Be sure to click the link to read the whole article.
-Ray Zabielski

May 6, 2008; Page A23

The dire headlines coming fast and furious in the financial and popular press suggest that the housing crisis is intensifying. Yet it is very likely that April 2008 will mark the bottom of the U.S. housing market. Yes, the housing market is bottoming right now. Click Here for the full article